GIG HARBOR, Wash. — Renton-based artist Adrienne La Faye is an advocate of using her talent to tell women's stories.
Her latest project, Portraits of Forgotten Women, highlights the stories of women in prison.
"I want to understand who they are behind their face," she said. "They have a story behind their eyes. Once they start telling me their story, once they start telling me who they are, I can paint them better."
In March of 2019, La Faye visited the Washington Corrections Center for Women to meet with a group of inmates. She took pictures of each one and then painted a portrait of them.
"I know what it feels like not to have a voice. I've been in jail," she said. "It's a horrible feeling to look up and there are bars and nobody's listening."
La Faye wanted a way to combine her gift as an artist to help people. Her goal is to humanize the women she paints.
"I think there is a disclaimer when you're incarcerated that you're this horrible criminal person who's done the worst things possible," she said. "But in reality, there are mothers, they're sisters, they're daughters and they're really nice people, but they've made bad mistakes."
Seven months after her initial visit, La Faye returned to reveal the finished works, to the delight of the women.
"The way that she had me looking up, I feel like that captures my personality," one of the women said. "I'm always so hopeful."
La Faye says that beyond the paintings, her main goal is to uplift and encourage women by letting them know that someone cares about them.
"I love to support people. I believe we all need somebody to support us."
Adrienne plans to do more portraits in LA, New Orleans, Chicago, and New York.